Pastor and Head of Staff
“I can think of no more exciting place to be in ministry than Western!”
Drawn by our welcoming and open-minded faith, Laura Cunningham came to Western Church as Pastor/Head of Staff in May of 2015. Dedicated to preaching and worship – to being “opened up” by Scripture – Laura is a lifelong Presbyterian with a heart for the “spiritual but not religious.” A native Atlantan, she has served congregations from Memphis, TN to Pearl River, NY, with stops in South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and D.C.
Beyond the local church, Laura has advocated for those without a permanent home, worked for full LGBTQ inclusion in the church and beyond, and collaborated with inter-faith clergy. An alumna of Columbia Theological Seminary, where she currently serves on the Board of Trustees, she is also a graduate of Davidson College.
Laura makes her home in Arlington with her husband Scott Ramsey, currently the interim pastor at Lewinsville Presbyterian Church in McLean, and two children Will and Ginny. She enjoys running and doing yoga and all things dark chocolate. If she had to say what she hopes to live by, it would be “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself, and everything else will follow.” Her theology reduced to two words? Love wins.
Contact Laura at Laura@westernpresbyterian.org
Pastor for Community Life
Bio to Come
Contact John at John@westernpresbyterian.org
A native of the Washington D.C. area, Tom’s musical training is extensive. Besides working at Western, he is director of two of Washington’s finest choral groups: The National Men’s Chorus and The New Dominion Chorale. Tom is a well- known composer of choral works whose music is performed nation-wide.
Tom has had a distinguished career in music. He has been recognized for his multi-faceted abilities: singer, oboist, keyboard player, composer, arranger, teacher, conductor. He attended Harvard College, studying composition with Randall Thompson and Walter Piston, and choral conducting with G. Wallace Woodworth. Vocal study was at the Longy School of Music with Mme. Olga Averino and, later, with Mme. Mascia Predit. He studied composition and conducting in France with the legendary Nadia Boulanger.
Mr. Beveridge has been Director of Choral Activities at George Mason University and Chorus Master of the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center. He has appeared at the Kennedy Center as guest conductor of the Washington Chamber Symphony and at the Kennedy Center’s popular Messiah sing-along. He was guest assistant conductor in the Choral Arts Society’s performance of Kneiffel’s Chapter Eight at the Washington National Cathedral with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, released on the Teldec label. He also has appeared as guest conductor of the National Gallery Orchestra.
Mr. Beveridge currently is also Artistic Director of the National Men’s Chorus and Director of Music at Western Presbyterian Church in Washington.
Contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jess comes to Western as a Candidate (certified ready for a call) and with a background in graphic design and ministry. She has worked as a freelance designer since 2008 and now brings her creative gifts to the church as she seeks ordination. She graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College (Rochester, NY) with a BS in Visual Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design and from Wesley Theological Seminary with a M.Div. In bringing the visual arts into the work of the church, Jess hopes to help faith communities better tell and experience the story of God’s work in the world. Jess will be working part time with regular office hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Contact Jess at Jess@westernpresbyterian.org
Sunday School Coordinator
Originally from Cleveland, Kathryn was brought to D.C. in 2015 to study International Affairs at The George Washington University. She has been attending Western for the last year, and hopes to continue to grow her faith alongside those of Western’s children.
Contact Kathryn at SundaySchool@westernpresbyterian.org
Young Adult Volunteer (YAV)
Julia is an incoming senior at Davidson College with a major in Religious Studies, and a minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies. On campus, I am a senior leader of Better Together, a club for interfaith engagement, the co-founder of The Visibility Project, an initiative to bring allies and LGBTQIA+ individuals together to engage with faith, and finally take part in various religious groups such as our UKirk and various ecumenical services. I can’t wait to get to know you, and spend the summer engaging with ministry and justice!
Contact Julia at Julia@westernpresbyterian.org
Shenella McGaskey has been a faithful presence at Western Presbyterian Church since September 2000. Her lively, behind-the-scenes job includes preparing the Sunday-morning Order of Worship; maintaining the Master Calendar for wedding dates and committee room assignments; and handling phone calls when church members need to reach Rev. Laura quickly in a moment of need.
Beyond that, she graciously buzzes in visitors from the street; handles flower donations; and is the go-to person when the copy machine breaks down. She is also unflappable in handling emergency situations–as demonstrated on 9/11, when Western became the emergency child-care pick-up point for State Department employees!
Contact Shenella at Shenella@westernpresbyterian.org
Nancy has been a member of Western Presbyterian Church since 1983. She served as Western’s Bookkeeper from 1996 through 1999, and returned to the position of Assistant Treasurer/Bookkeeper in 2002. Nancy served as the Facilities Director and IT Manager at WRI from 1983 until 2016.
Contact Nancy at email@example.com
Contact Gaston at firstname.lastname@example.org
Housekeeper and Nursery Caregiver
Ana joined Western’s staff in 2006. She enjoys helping to make Western a warm and welcoming place of hospitality by cleaning, making coffee each morning, and helping in the nursery and kitchen on Sundays. Ana finds joy in caring for our littlest ones during worship. Originally from El Salvador, Ana is mother to two daughters and one son and has seven grandbabies she loves to spend time with.
Contact Ana at email@example.com